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Derby County predicted XI vs Leeds United: Bamford to start

We take a look at the starting XI we think Derby fans should expect to line-up against rivals Leeds United.

It's a key fixture for Derby County fans which, quite frankly, has come at the worst possible time and Steve McClaren will no doubt understand that. 

With third place already wrapped up, the result against Leeds United in the grand scheme of things is meaningless. However, some Derby supporters, the older generation in particular, see the game against Leeds United in the same vein as the game against Nottingham Forest. 

And it's a game, in recent years, the Rams have been dominant. In fact, if Derby win at the weekend it will make it 11 straight wins against Leeds, a streak which has been performed over nearly a complete decade. 

Nevertheless, the play-off semi-final game guaranteed to be next Thursday will undoubtedly be Steve McClaren's main focus of attention, so here is our predicted Derby County line-up:

Adam Legzdins

Andre Wisdom - Richard Keogh (C) - Zak Whitbread - Lee Naylor 

John Eustace

James Bailey - Will Hughes

Simon Dawkins             Patrick Bamford            Mason Bennett

We expect, although he hasn't confirmed it, that Steve McClaren will rest the majority of the team that should be expected to start against whoever finishes 6th in the play-offs on Thursday night. Andre Wisdom and Richard Keogh are likely to be asked to solider on, however, the rest of the team could be handed an important extra few days rest.

Adam Legzdins, the Rams number one from last season, could be asked to fill in for Lee Grant, although a debut for new signing Kelle Roos wouldn't be a surprise. We also expect changes to the back four with Zak Whitbread and Lee Naylor to be handed games, coming straight in for Buxton and Forsyth. 

Where the changes are more likely, however, is in the Derby midfield and attack. 

John Eustace, James Bailey and Will Hughes could come straight in for the impressive George Thorne, Jeff Hendrick and Craig Bryson. 

All eyes should be on experienced midfielder John Eustace who will no doubt be keen to impress after an exceptional season. After all,  It could realistically be the last start the defensive midfielder makes in a Derby County shirt. 

Upfront, no matter what combination of players Derby put out, it will still carry a huge threat to the Leeds United defence. We expect a Dawkins, Bennett and Bamford forward three replacing the in form Martin, Russell and Ward.

It will be nice to see John Eustace given a start, however, the emphasis will be on Bamford, Hughes and Dawkins, The three players who could, and should, still be looking to break into the play-off first-team picture. 

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